In the second act of her career, Joy McGaugh has dedicated herself to service. A 2004 graduate of Trinity University, Joy then attended law school at the University of Houston Law Center, graduating in December 2006. After 5 years as a third-party insurance defense litigator, she retired from the practice of law to stay home with her infant daughter, eventually adding a son to their family in 2013. In 2017, she joined the Alumni Relations department at her alma mater and has served as the Associate Director of Alumni Relations for more than two years. Joy has been a member of the Junior League of San Antonio since 2012, serving as President in 2018-2019. She currently chairs JLSA's Community Advisory Board as immediate past President. Joy has also served on the vestry of the Episcopal Church of Reconciliation since January 2018 and has served on the Board of Directors for Discovery School of San Antonio, Inc. and Barrington Neighbors, a startup nonprofit serving the Serna Elementary School catchment area.
Joy and her husband Zach, a 2005 Trinity graduate, have two children: Cora, age 8, and Elliot, age 6. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, traveling, and snuggling with the family dog, Peggy.
Why have you decided to serve as a Trailblazer for the JLSA?
Mental health issues run in my family. I have an aunt and a sibling who both have bipolar disorder, and in all likelihood, my grandfather also had it but was undiagnosed. In June 2008, my father was shot while riding his bicycle in a random act of violence in Corpus Christi, and three and a half years later, after suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and severe depression following the shooting, he took his own life. Many times, mental and emotional pain can be more difficult to heal from than physical injuries. My dad had access to tremendous resources, and I think about how incredibly onerous it can seem to a family without those resources to even know where to begin in helping their loved ones treat mental health issues.
I have decided to serve as a Trailblazer for this project because I desperately want to break the stigma surrounding mental health issues and ensure that every member of our community, especially children who are still in their formative years, have the support and ability to learn how to manage and care for their mental health. I wonder, if my dad had lived in a society where he felt he could be open about his mental health struggles, whether he might still be alive today. I am participating as a Trailblazer this year in honor of my father.
Who and/or what inspires you to pave a path in our community (be a community leader/participant)?
My children are my biggest motivators to engage as a community leader. I believe I have a duty to them to help make the future brighter for all children and to do my part to better the world in my small corner of it. I watched my mother volunteer with the Junior League of Corpus Christi during my childhood, and that example inspired me not to take my privilege for granted - not to put on blinders to the issues facing others in your community. I want to do all I can to speak up for justice and equity for all, especially in places where others' voices may not be heard.